Latta boys split final games at Atoka

Jan. 25—ATOKA — Cold-shooting Latta never found its offensive rhythm in a 59-23 loss to host Atoka in the consolation championship game of the 2023 Wampus Cat Classic on Saturday.

The Panthers had pushed past Kingston 49-38 Friday in the consolation semifinals

Latta, ranked No. 14 in Class 2A, now sits at 9-11 on the year heading into a rematch with Atoka Friday night at the Latta Panther Fieldhouse.

The Wampus Cats improved to 9-7 on the year and Kingston dropped to 4-9.

Saturday, Jan. 21

Atoka 59, Latta 23

Latta trailed just 13-7 after the first quarter but managed just three points in both the second and third periods. The Wampus Cats took advantage and outscored the Panthers 20-6 during that stretch to take a commanding 33-13 lead.

"I thought we did some really good things in the first quarter and had several open opportunities to score, but just couldn't convert," said LHS boys coach Matt Bryant. "Our boys fought hard, we just couldn't put the ball in the basket."

Eli Eaves led the Wampus Cats with 18 points. Jace Jackson was next with 14 and Kollin Ritchie also hit double figures with 13.

Latta got nine points from Lincoln Estes, who hit one 3-pointer. Sam Brown followed with eight points and sank two 3-point shots.

Friday, Jan. 20

Latta 49, Kingston 38

Latta junior Sam Brown caught fire in the fourth quarter and led the Panthers to the come-from-behind victory.

The Panthers trailed 9-5 after the first period and 16-15 at halftime. The Redskins then used a 15-9 run in the third quarter to extend their advantage to 31-24.

Brown then went bonkers. He hit four 3-pointers in the final frame and scored 20 points in Latta's 25-7 game-ending volley. Brown ended up with 28 points on the strength of six 3-point baskets and was also a perfect 4-for-4 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter.

"Kingston came out and gave us all we wanted. Our first-half defense wasn't the best and was a little frustrating to watch from the sideline," Bryant said. "But in the second half — especially in the fourth quarter — we had amazing activity and effort on the defensive end which ultimately really got us going. I was very happy to see our team respond and fight for the win."

Lincoln Estes hit a pair of triples and scored eight points for Latta.

Parks Ratzlaff led Kingston with nine points, while both Reid Patterson and Cash Walker followed with eight points apiece.